To our BCOE Community:
The Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside stands in solidarity with our students, staff, and faculty community against social injustice and acts of racism. The violence that has recently taken the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, and countless others, are just the latest examples of unacceptable attacks on our Black citizens. We all have the same rights under law, but not in practice. This must change now.
Each of these deaths is tragic. Combined, they display a disturbing pattern of violence that stems from institutionalized racism in many of our workplaces, communities, and even our educational systems. These deaths, and the many that came before them, are abhorrent and the institutional protections of those committing these crimes must be removed and the criminals prosecuted. Calling out institutional racism is not enough. Every institution must reevaluate its own culture and identify ways to make positive change.
UC Riverside and BCOE have suffered from racial and gender bias. Over the past few weeks, Black students have shared racist experiences both on and off campus and Black faculty and staff have shared their pain in light of recent protests. Years of work groups, task forces, and diversity initiatives have repeatedly identified the same problems, and each has fallen short, resulting in a new committee identifying the same problems every few years. As an institution that creates future leaders, we need to do more to support Black members of our community in this moment of national crisis and moving forward. It is on every one of us not to tolerate racism on any level and to contribute to a culture and environment that welcomes and supports all students, staff, and faculty equally.
We acknowledge that everyone within our BCOE community has been significantly impacted by the recent events. Understandably, our students have found it difficult to focus on coursework when a historic movement so many years in the making has been, in some cases, taking place right outside their homes and in their neighborhoods. We recognize and fully support our students who are lending their voices for change.
We implore every member of the BCOE community to commit to zero tolerance of racism of any kind. We call on the BCOE community to commit to the following actions as the first steps to ensuring BCOE is a safe, inclusive, and equitable community for our Black engineers:
Eliminating institutionalized racism is a complex challenge. One that requires transformative approaches to enact a change that is long overdue. We call on the BCOE community to recommit to ensuring we have an inclusive environment by holding each other accountable.
Our students, staff, and faculty have endured immense hardship through this quarter – the isolation of quarantine, feeling worried about the health of family and friends, the stress of curfews, and now the level of effort needed to bring about real, long-term societal change. This has been especially challenging for our students who are seeking a degree in one of the most challenging fields of study. It is on us as staff and faculty to support our students who will go on to define our future not just technologically but socially. UCR and BCOE students, we hear you. You have our support. We will emerge from this a stronger community and work together to achieve real change.
On behalf of the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering,
Christopher S. Lynch
Dean, Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering
William R. Johnson Jr. Family Chair